[Update : It’s a hoax. A good one, though, and not far off reality by any means.]
I’m busy with getting ready to move house again — yet again — and so haven’t written what has become my weekly essay here on this incarnation of the ‘bottle. In lieu of that, I offer you this Komedy Korean Kontract, which had me damn near peeing myself with laughter. This comes to me third-hand, and its veracity is possibly a bit suspect, but I have seen ones nearly this bad out there, so I’m just going to throw it up for your amusement and elucidation, dear readers. Be assured that Korean labour laws are being violated and loopholes exploited (like people frequently getting fired at the 11 month mark, arbitrarily, so the employer can weasel out of the paid return airfare regulation) both in fact and in clear future intent all over the map here. Not that they’re enforced or anything, of course.
There’s a goldmine in Korea! ‘Course, you’d have to be f–king loopy to actually go down in there…

Employment Agreement for English Teacher
This Employment Contract (hereinafter, the “Contract”) is entered into between Krazy Korean Konglish Institute the Republic of Korea, (hereinafter the “Employer”) and the native English speaker XXX (hereinafter the “Employee”) a XXX citizen residing in XXX
Article 1. (Term of Employment)
[1] The Term of Employment shall commence on xx/xx/2003 and end a year later.
[2] If the Employee or Employer wishes to terminate the employment contract prior to the date of expiration, the Employee agrees to have the final pay deducted to reflect the cost of airfare, recruiters fees, housing deposit early termination fees, utility shut off fees, and an inconvenience fee which is to reimburse the school the trouble that early termination causes both the staff, students and the school.
Article 1a. (Conditions of Employment)
[1] The Employee attests that they cannot speak or read the Korean language and that this will not change significantly during the duration of the contract.
[2] The Employee attests that they are of Caucasian (white) descent and that they have no blood Asian relatives.
[3] The Employee attests that this is the first trip outside their county of origin for the purpose of work.
[4] The Employee attests that they are between the ages of 18 and 28.
Article 2. (Salary)
[1] The Employee shall be paid 2,000,000 Korean Won per month.
[2] The Employer will deduct any and all Employer deemed necessary deductions, to include but not limited to Korean Income Tax and Pension, as needed on a month-by-month basis.
[3] The Employee’s salary will be paid at some time on the 10th day of each month. Where that day is a Saturday, Sunday or School Holiday, the Employer will pay the Employee on the next business day.
[4] A fee of 700,000 won will be deducted from the first pay check as security against damage to housing, unpaid bills, and sudden breach of contract by the Employee. After said employment concludes the Employee must submit in writing a request for the balance (if any) of this deposit to be sent to the Employee somewhere out of Korea. In no circumstance will this be paid to the Employee while the Employee is still in Korea.
[5] If the Employee has been absent from his designated work place without prior approval, the employee will forfeit 50,000 won per hour of absence. A 1-hour fee will be automatically deducted after the employee is late one hundred and sixty (160) seconds for any class.
Article 3. (Working Hours)
[1] The Employee shall teach 120 hours per month. In Korea, as well as in the rest of the world, 1 hour equals sixty minutes.
[2] The workweek will be Monday through Friday.
[3] The Employee shall work any and all hours that the Employer specifies. This will change on a month-to-month basis.
[4] The Employer will pay overtime for all working hours in excess of 120 hours. The rate for overtime is calculated at 12000 Won per hour.
[5] That the Employer will require the Employee to work a different schedule during the government school vacation periods and other ‘special’ times.
[6] The Employer may change the working hours at will.
[7] There shall be a 10-minute break between each class regardless of how long said class lasts. In no event will a class be ‘split’ so a break may be taken. Employees are expected to behave in a professional manner and not leave the students unattended for any reason.
[8] In the event that the Employee teaches for less then 120 hours (7,200 actual minutes spent teaching) the Employer will assign various chores to the Employee to complete so as to be paid in full. An accurate count of all teaching minutes will be conducted on the 3rd Friday in the month. The following Monday the Employee will be given a list of tasks to complete to compensate for the lack of teaching hours. These tasks must be completed to the satisfaction of the Employer for the Employee to receive credit for them. Any tasks completed unsatisfactory or unfinished will be deducted from the pay.
Article 4. (Working Conditions)
[1] The Employee shall be assigned a classroom. Any decorating of this classroom, to include posters, is the responsibility of the Employee. It is expected that the Employee is a professional and, as such, will properly furnish the classroom with materials conductive to learning the English language.
[2] The Employee will be issued 2 (two) whiteboard markers every 3 (three) months provided a properly filled out requisition slip is submitted.
[3] The Employee shall be given a code to use the copy machine. The Employer assumes no responsibility for lost, forgotten, stolen, or misused codes. The code will credit the employee with 5 ‘free’ copies per day. Any copies over the initial 5 will be charged to the employee at the rate of 500 won per copy.
[4] The Employee shall be expected to keep the classroom presentable. This includes the floor, table, chairs, walls, door and windows. The employee shall empty the classroom trash at the end of each day. A broom, bucket and mop will be issued to the employee at the beginning of employment. These must be returned as serviceable or a replacement fee of 30,000 won will be deducted.
[5] The Employer will provide 1 internet connected computer for every 2 teachers. A login system will be used and tracking software will be installed. Any attempt to circumvent said software will immediately result in loss of login credentials. Additionally the Employer reserves the right to monitor and record any and all activities on the Employers computers.
[6] The Employer will offer a meal plan to the Employee. The meal plan will cost 9,500 won per meal at the Institute. This will give the Employee an opportunity to eat healthy and delicious Korean meals at a deeply discounted price.
[7] A list with all Foreign Employees names shall be posted on the first of the month assigning common area and school / Korean staff vehicle clean up duties. Those Employees with vehicle duties will be expected to completely wash and wax the vehicles they are assigned to once a week. Additionally the vehicles must be cleaned daily after the last vehicle has returned to the Institute for the day. The vehicle operator will make the final determination on vehicle cleanliness.
Article 5. (Housing)
[1] The Employer should provide the Employee with housing. Housing may include a leased room in someone’s house, officetel, apartment, or in a Korean type ‘Study Room’ or Yogwon.
[2] The Employer may provide temporary housing not exceeding 185 days until appropriate housing becomes available.
[3] The Employee may be required to share the said housing with anyone the Employer so sees fit.
[4] The Employee is liable and responsible for all fees, namely utility charges, gas, electricity, telephone, incurred whilst the said Employee is in residence.
[5] The Employer should provide the Employee’s accommodation with furniture, (one bed or rakuraku style bed, a tray or rack for hanging clothes, a few assorted kitchenware utensils, mini-refrigerator, bedding, washing machine).
[6] The Employee must take all due and reasonable care of said furniture and equipment, and that the Employee shall be liable for the cost of replacement to any equipment or furniture damaged in any way by the Employee.
[7] In order to conform to Koreas strict fire codes the Employer shall have the right to conduct safety inspections and fire drills at the Employees home at any time.
[8] The Employee may not change or tamper with any lock or safety device in the Employees home. There will be a 75.000 won locksmith charge if this provision is violated.
Article 6. (Airfare)
[1] The Employee’s economy airfare to Korea via the most direct route from outside Korea to the nearest airport near the place of employment will be reimbursed in Korea by the Employer.
[2]The Employer will reimburse half (50%) to the Employee on the first pay day.
[3] Where the Employee completes the contract as stipulated in Article 1 hereof, the Employer must pay to the Employee no later than 1 day prior to the end of the contract, the most current inexpensive return economy airfare to the country the Employee is a citizen of.
[4] Where the Employee is hired in Korea, the Employer shall roundtrip airfare for the Employee’s visa run to the nearest non Korean mainland Embassy.
[5] Where the Employee terminates this contract within 11 months of the commencement date, the Employer will deduct all the air fare paid to the Employee.
Article 7. (Medical Insurance)
[1] The Employer should pay the half medical insurance coverage of the Employee.
[2] That the Employer should provide the Employee a medical insurance booklet during the contract period. This typically (due to insurance company paperwork) is done around the 4th month of employment.
Article 8. (Sick leave)
[1] The Employee shall be entitled to 2 semi paid days sick leave per contract, calculated as one day per 6 months accumulative.
[2] If the Employee is sick they will call the institute and arrange to be brought to a doctor. In order to help the Employee with any language problems the Employer will and must remain with the Employee for the entire duration of said trip to the doctor. If the doctor and the Employer agree the Employee will be awarded a ‘sick-day’ at 50% of the specified rate of pay. If the Doctor or Employer deems the illness to be minor then the Employee will be expected to work that day. Failure to work that day subjects the Employee to the penalties outlined in Article 2 clause 5 for the duration of that day to include the lunch period as well.
[3] The Employee must advise the Employer in advance of the sick leave and expected duration thereof.
[4] Sick leave above and beyond the said 2 working days stipulated in [1] hereof, shall be unpaid.
Article 9. (Job Description)
[1] The Employee shall carry out all duties required by the Employer to (a) provide English language lessons to students and or Korean teachers.
[2] The Employee shall be required to work at any place of employment seen fit by the Employer. If travel is involved then the Employer must pay the Employee public transportation traveling expenses, and where travel exceeds 90 minutes via any one-way transportation, the Employer will pay 60% of the hourly wage for the said travel time.
[3] The Employer requires the Employee to attend any meetings or functions the Employer sees fit. These will not be compensated.
[4] During the term of this agreement, the Employee will accept, obey and comply with the instructions, supervision, training and discipline of the Director and any Korean staff of the Language Institute. These duties will include instruction for regular classes, administrative duties related to the Employee’s classes, student placement testing, attendance at scheduled instructors’ meetings and workshops and extra curricular duties (such as Bus classes, Lunch-time table classes, Field trip etc. would be included) as may be assigned by the Director. The Director is to set standards of performance for the Employee and is empowered to take reasonable steps necessary for assuring that those standards are met.
[5] The Employee will sign a ‘no compete’ contract stating that they will not teach any students not specified by the director and if they break the contract, agree not to teach English in Korea for a period of 5 calendar years.
Article 9a. (Employee Conduct and Appearance)
[1] The Employee shall post a ‘code of conduct’ in the teachers break room that shall be followed by the Employees.
[2] Breaching this code of conduct will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. However the minimum fine for a breach of the code is 75,000 won.
[3] The code of conduct is in force 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
[4] While in Korea the Employee is the public face of the institute. To that end the employee’s behavior has a direct effect on the perception of the institute by other Koreans. Damage to that perception will be dealt with severely harshly.
[5] In order to maintain the good will the institute already enjoys in the community the institute will hold bi-monthly ‘fun days’. These special days will always fall on a Friday. During that day the Employee will entertain prospective students during the regular workday. This entertainment can include taking part in a pie toss, the application of performance make up and the wearing of costumes, participation in the ‘dunk tank’ event, and other activities as required by the director. A special meal will be provided at the conclusion of the event, free of charge.
[6] A de facto professional dress code will be enforced for all foreign Employees. A poster displaying proper work attire will be displayed in the Teachers break room. Teachers who vandalize this poster will be fined 30,000 won.
[7] Employees must be ‘camera ready’ at all times during the workday as there will be sporadic photographs and video shot during the year.
[8] Male employees will shave daily. Male employees will take reasonable steps to ensure that their personal odor will not become disruptive.
[9] Female employees will take all reasonable steps to ensure that their personal and menstrual odor does not become disruptive.
[10] Employees will wash their hair at least once every 2 days and maintain proper nail hygiene at all times.
[11] Employees must endeavor not to dramatically change their appearance during the period of Employment. Planned significant change to the Employees physical appearance should be discussed with and agreed on by the director in advance of such change.
[12] Employees shall refrain from consuming alcohol during the week and shall never use illegal drugs while employed at the institute.
[12a] Additionally a 12 am curfew will be imposed Monday to Thursday to ensure that the Employees are receiving the proper amount of sleep.
[13] Employees may be randomly screened for the use of illegal drugs or the presence of communicable diseases, to include AIDS, by blood test.
[14] Single employees shall refrain from engaging in romantic relationships with Korean citizens while employed at the institute. Interracial dating is still a social taboo in Korea and reflects poorly on the Employee and the institute.
Article 10. (Vacation)
[1] The Employee shall be entitled to 5 working days annual leave per contract.
[2] The Employee shall be entitled to all public holidays stipulated on the official institute yearly calendar. These may vary from those holidays specified by the government.
[3] That where the Employee has worked the entire contract without absence, the Employee shall be granted a lunch at ‘Carne Station’ (various locations in Seoul) with all you can eat of food and beverages that are normally offered during lunch to be paid for by the Employer.
Article 11. (Termination of Contract)
[1] The Employer may terminate this contract upon any serious occurrences
[2] In the event that the Employer terminates the contract for a serious reason the Employer shall pay the Employee up to the date of termination minus any and all expenses previously referred to in this document. Additionally the Employees visa shall be cancelled within 24 hours. The Employee will vacate the apartment prior to any money being paid to the Employee.
[3] In the event of clause (a) termination, the Employer may terminate the contract forthwith, and further, that the Employer shall, if this section occurs within 11 months of the start date hereof, not be liable for the return airfare of the said Employee, and (b) the Employer may seek reimbursement of the airfare paid pursuant to Clause 6 hereof.
[4] It is a condition of this agreement that the Employer must provide the Employee with 2 days written notice of Intention to terminate the Contract, setting forth the reasons therein, and allowing the Employee to remedy the situation within that time.
Article 12. (Renewal of Contract)
[1] As no contract renewal issue has ever been addressed this will be taken care of on a case by case basis rather then having a ‘policy’ to address it.

Yeah! Where do I sign?
[found at ESLCafe]


Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. Are you kidding me? This is way better than the contracty that I signed when I came to work here at the USA! I was expected to work at least 60 hours a week. And vacation?
    And I had to drive, raining, in the snow, at night, in an unknown town. And I had never driven a car before.
    OK, so I feel your pain 🙂

  2. No, no, this wasn’t a contract I signed! I’d rather starve, for chrissakes.
    I just thought clauses like :
    [9] Female employees will take all reasonable steps to ensure that their personal and menstrual odor does not become disruptive.
    [14] Single employees shall refrain from engaging in romantic relationships with Korean citizens while employed at the institute. Interracial dating is still a social taboo in Korea and reflects poorly on the Employee and the institute.
    [1] The Employee attests that they cannot speak or read the Korean language and that this will not change significantly during the duration of the contract.
    [2] The Employee attests that they are of Caucasian (white) descent and that they have no blood Asian relatives.
    are so ridiculous as to be amusing.
    Perhaps this is Comedy Gold (pulled from Today’s Real Life Headlines™!) only for those of us who’ve actually lived in the Land of the Morning Bomb.

  3. Wow, that is sad and hilarious at the same time. I am guessing that these contracts are usually signed after the foreign devil arrives in Korea without a cent to his/her name and no return air ticket?

  4. You got ‘er, dg!
    Well, not always, and this, if real, is one of the most egregious I’ve seen, but yeah, there are a lot of young folks showing up and working under these kinds of conditions, whether enshrined in contract language or not.
    The kiddie-school ‘hagwon churn’ is Pure Evil, but accounts for a sizeable majority of the foreigners in-country at any given time. All about the money, about squeezing maximum perceived value out of the indentured (and student-debt repaying, more often than not) English Monkey, and then getting rid of said linguo-simian as soon as convenient, preferably without full remuneration, if at all possible.
    Not always the case, but I’m beginning to believe more often than not.
    Some universities and private (non-‘hagwon’ (ie private school)) companies are better. But the churn down below still consitutes the bulk of the ESL industry in numbers and dollars here.
    And with the job market tighter than usual at the moment, I think evil contracts like this are going to get more common.
    Prospective Koreanaut beware.

  5. Gee, in Hungary you are pretty much encouraged to have relationships with your students.
    Did your school ever have “Fun day?”

  6. Wow, just….wow!

  7. Oh my and I thought the one I had in Japan was bad – that one is positively evil 🙂 Of course I was there in the mid seventies so i’m sure they have gotten almost as bad as that.

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